Ethereum validators will soon be able to withdraw their Ether (ETH) from the Beacon Chain, with the Shapella hard fork set to be activated on the Ethereum mainnet on April 12.
Shapella will take effect at epoch 194,048, which is scheduled for 10:27 pm UTC on April 12, Ethereum core developers confirmed.
The withdrawals will be enabled by Ethereum Improvement Proposal EIP-4895 by “pushing” staked Ether from the Beacon Chain to the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), otherwise known as the execution layer.
The epoch, slot, and time were confirmed following a week-long deliberation between members of the Ethereum Foundation, which was led by Ethereum core developer Tim Beiko.
While the hard fork will allow for partial and full withdrawals, several mechanisms are set in place to ensure a flood of Ether doesn’t disrupt the market.
There are now 17.81 million Ether staked on the Beacon Chain. At a current price of $1,776, this means $31.6 billion can be incrementally unlocked over time.
While the Ethereum Foundation described the last testnet run on Goerli as “smooth,” there was a notable delay in activation time due to many validators not updating their client software.
However, Beiko is confident it won’t be an issue this time, as Ethereum validators will be economically incentivized to make the update for the mainnet.
Ethereum’s key hard forks
Because of EIP-4895, Shapella is considered the most significant hard fork on Ethereum since Paris — the Merge — changed the network consensus mechanism from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake on Sept 15.
Prior to that, London introduced EIP-1559 in August 2021, which introduced a base fee that users must pay instead of the old price auction method. While the validators still receive a block reward and tip, the base fee is burned, which is intended to make Ether deflationary over time.
Related: Ethereum’s Shapella transition is ‘on the horizon’
Berlin optimized gas costs for some EVM actions in April 2021, while Beacon Chain Genesis marked the first block that was produced on the proof-of-stake chain on Dec. 1, 2020.
Finally in December 2019, Istanbul served to improve denial-of-service attack resilience and make layer-2 scaling solutions based on SNARKs and STARKs more performant.
The Ethereum Foundation also announced last week that it doubled rewards for any bugs found in the Shapella code. Successful bounties may receive a reward anywhere between $2,000 and $250,000, depending on how “critical” the bug is.
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